Sunday, January 31, 2016

Lazy Sunday

Why Women Wear Heels with Jeans--Sunday, 1/31/16

Focal item: Long bootcut jeans

These jeans are too long for me, but I bought them anyway with the intention of hemming them...and then never did it.  I still can, but for the purposes of the Work the Wardrobe Challenge, I decided I needed to just wear them already.  I have one pair of shoes with enough height to make these jeans work--my black wedges.  So I took my inspiration from this photo of a woman wearing platform wedges with jeans, a black top, and a gold tassel necklace (all pieces that I have).


Unlike her skinny jeans, my jeans are long bootcuts so my shoes don't show very much.  But I will say that seeing myself in this combination of long jeans and tall shoes, I do get why women wear heels with jeans--it makes your legs look really long...even more so with the bootcut jeans than the skinny jeans, I think.  I thought I would find the plain black shoes with the jeans boring, but I didn't--so maybe I will wear the two together again in the future.  It's easier than hemming the jeans!  And since I lucked out with new jeans during the two Christmas thrift store outings, I'm no longer desperate for jeans I can wear with normal (i.e., flat) shoes.

Long bootcut jeans (thrifted, Target), $2.50/wear+
Black striped layering T (thrifted, Talbots), $1.33/wear+
Brown leopard cardigan (Lands End), $11.06/wear+
Black wedges (thrifted), $0.29/wear
Long gold tassel necklace (Kohls), $1.54/wear

Outfit total: $16.72/wear

I seem to gravitate toward this leopard cardigan + gold tassel necklace combination but what can I say, there's just something about it I really like.

In other news...I've had a headache much of the day, so I've been catching up a bit with my Netflix DVDs, including Case Histories, a TV show based on the book by the same name.  I read the book and liked it a lot, but it was several years ago, so that's all I remember about it.  The entirety of my memory of the plot of the book was, So there's this he's a private detective, right?

The song stuck in my head today (despite the fact that I've not been listening to Hamilton at all today):  "The Room Where It Happens."  Aaron Burr really gets some of the best songs in the whole thing.  (Though in this song, Hamilton's impression of Burr saying "Talk less. Smile more." is a real highlight.)

I really don't want the weekend to be over.  I'd hoped that having some time to sleep extra and lounge about would make me feel better but I'm still dragging.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Weekend Ease

Gratuitous Green Leopard--Saturday, 1/30/16

Focal item:  Oversized brown pullover sweater (men's department)

This outfit is not rocket science, but it's an easy to way to wear a sweater--with skinny jeans tucked into tall boots.


Because I don't like turtlenecks, not even the Turtleneck That Ate Cincinnati, I added a leopard infinity scarf for warmth + a pop of color (and on general principles).  And later, when I became inexplicably freezing even though it was 69 degrees inside, I added my brown quilted jacket.  I spent the whole day on this weird body temperature roller-coaster that did not obviously correspond to the objective air temperature.  Oh, well, I also felt sick during the day so perhaps I developed a fever at some point.  Hmm.

*Brown pullover sweater (thrifted, Claiborne), $5.00/wear+
Skinny jeans (JCP), $1.41/wear
Tall brown boots by Fitzwell, $7.00/wear
Green leopard scarf (thrifted), $1.33/wear+
Brown quilted jacket (thrifted), $1.25/wear

Outfit total: $15.99/wear

So the observant among you will have noticed that I took a photo of my outfit while not wearing it.  For some of my weekend outfits, where I'm putting together some pretty basic ensembles with jeans, for example, I've decided to take a bit of a photography short-cut to speed things up for myself.  But if something looked OK on the hanger but later looked terrible when I wore it, I'll own up to it.  It's bound to happen, but I'm not worried about that happening on the weekend compared to a work day, when an outfit failure leads to panic and a grumpiness that just won't quit.

In other news...Robert checked last night and the tickets to Hamilton on Broadway are sold out until next September (where they start having the occasion opening for the Wednesday matinee for some reason).  So we won't be traveling to NYC to take in the show this summer.

But I'm willing to Wait For It.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Friday Hallelujah

Sometimes You Just Go With Simple--Friday, 1/29/16

Occasionally I'll come across an inspiration photo with the exact same item I own--in this case, the red/blue/white diamond print blouse from Target. 


I tried wearing my blouse with a gold chain necklace, but it looked a bit fussy to me.  I'm also not one for belting over cardigans.  So in the end, I didn't really take much from this photo other than the idea, Hey, I should wear that blouse!  I should wear it with black on top!  And so I did...with a polka dot blazer for a bit of pattern mixing and with no necklace, which is very unusual for me.  I tried some different things, but in the end, I liked the simplicity of this version best.

Blue/red/white diamond print blouse (thrifted, Target), $2.00/wear+
Black polka dot blazer (thrifted, Talbots), $4.87/wear
Straight leg jeans (thrifted, Bandolinoblu), $0.44/wear
Red buckle flats by Me Too, $2.82/wear

Outfit total: $10.13/wear

To make up for the lack of necklace, I wore a pair of statement earrings that I bought during the Christmas sales.  Along with my red shoes, I thought this punched things up sufficiently.

In other news...So glad to have this week over with!  The knowledge that I didn't have to go to work tomorrow was enough for me to conjure up the will to walk on the treadmill while Robert and I watched the first episode of Death in Paradise (which I thought was called Murder in Paradise, so I initially had trouble finding it on Netflix streaming).  It was fun, and I look forward to seeing more episodes.  Oh, the little gecko that lives in Poole's house is so cute!  I hope we get to see a lot more of him in the future.

I've been listening to the soundtrack from the Broadway show Hamilton a LOT this week.  I read about it some time ago in The Economist and then Tam was raving about it, too.  Proof that sometimes music that is crazy popular is actually really good (see also: the soundtrack from O Brother Where Art Thou?). 

I don't have a favorite but right now I really love "Cabinet Battle #1" in which Alexander Hamilton gives Thomas Jefferson a richly deserved dressing down.  Hamilton has proposed the creation of a national bank and the assumption of the states' debts.

Jefferson is opposed:

Ooh, if the shoe fits, wear it
If New York’s in debt—
Why should Virginia bear it? Uh! Our debts are paid, I’m afraid
Don’t tax the South cuz we got it made in the shade

In Virginia, we plant seeds in the ground
We create. You just wanna move our money around...

Hamilton replies:

Thomas. That was a real nice declaration
Welcome to the present, we’re running a real nation
Would you like to join us, or stay mellow
Doin’ whatever the hell it is you do in Monticello?
If we assume the debts, the union gets
A new line of credit
, a financial diuretic
How do you not get it? If we’re aggressive and competitive
The union gets a boost. You’d rather give it a sedative?
A civics lesson from a slaver. Hey neighbor
Your debts are paid cuz you don’t pay for labor
“We plant seeds in the South. We create.”
Yeah, keep ranting
We know who’s really doing the planting
And another thing, Mr. Age of Enlightenment Don’t lecture me about the war, you didn’t fight in it You think I’m frightened of you, man? We almost died in a trench While you were off getting high with the French Thomas Jefferson, always hesitant with the President Reticent—there isn’t a plan he doesn’t jettison Madison, you’re mad as a hatter, son, take your medicine Damn, you’re in worse shape than the national debt is in Sittin’ there useless as two shits Hey, turn around, bend over, I’ll show you
Where my shoe fits

A line useful for a lot of situations: "Sometimes it makes me wonder why I even bring the thunder."


...Again or Still--Thursday, 1/29/16

Dark green, beige, and a tan leopard print are a lovely combination. 

I didn't have the right type of jacket to replicate the beige/tan aspect of her outfit, so I went with more black and brought in blue with the scarf.

Kelly green knit dress (Lands End), $9.00/wear+
Black velvet blazer (thrifted, Talbots), $0.71/wear
Black tights
Leopard smoking slippers by Clarks, $2.27/wear
White/blue/green paisley/floral scarf (Target), $0.86/wear

Outfit total: $12.84/wear

A very different result compared to the original, but I still liked the green/leopard against this darker palette.

In other news...I felt crappy in the morning and almost didn't go to work, but I decided that I could probably manage it, and I did.  But going to work and washing my hair before bed was all I was up for.  This weekend of flop cannot come soon enough.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Best Practices

And a Big Denim Jacket--Wednesday, 1/27/16

She's got a lot going on here but it really works to my eye.  The burgundy/lime green combination is one I've fallen for before, but I actually was inspired by the more general formula of printed dress, denim jacket, scarf, and tights...


...which I took in a much more sedate direction in my version.

Red/black lightweight knit faux wrap dress (thrifted, Walmart), $1.67/wear+
Black denim jacket (JNY), $3.54/wear
Black and white houndstooth scarf (Target), $2.38/wear
Black leggings
Tall black boots by Fitzwell, $3.18/wear

Outfit total: $10.77/wear

But sometimes subtle print mixing rather than bright color mixing is what you're in the mood for.

In other news...This week I discovered an error in the syntax file that is used to build an important data file that we use all year in my department to track our "customers."  This is an old syntax file, developed by a guy who is no longer around but who continues to haunt my work through his erratic, lacking-documentation style--I have never worked with this syntax directly but when I found something I thought was odd, I talked to the analyst who built the file using this syntax and indeed there was a problem. 

Well, I would argue that there are LOTS of problems with it because (like every other piece of syntax I've seen that this guy developed) it violates all kinds of best practices.  For example, he has a series of mysterious steps that recode data into the same variables.  After picking apart what the hell he was doing, you figure out that he recodes the variable so that he can sort it in various ways and copy data from one record to another.  So because he wants value E to come after value K when he sorts the data, he recodes E to L.  But what happens when later the value K is changed in the underlying data base to value P?  A small disaster.  You sort on the values and instead of getting K (i.e. P) then L (i.e. E), you get L (i.e. E) then P (i.e. K).  And you copy the values of other fields wrong, too.  Oops.

The other analyst totally owned the error in that she didn't go through this syntax to update it when we knew that value K changed to value P.  But seriously, this guy's stuff is really screwy, so I'm not surprised that she missed it.  It really shouldn't take that much time to figure out what someone's syntax is doing.  There are two issues really.  First, the syntax is just strange and often not well-written, it seems to me, so it's not easy to track what's happening.  I don't know how much of this is his logic is not my logic and how much is that it's not really structured very logically.  He also often makes things a lot more complicated than I think they need to be.  Second, he never adds comments about WHY any of this is happening.  Sure, it's often apparent, but many times it isn't...because he has written something to accomplish a purpose that we no longer have, that nobody knows we should have, or can no longer actually be accomplished with the syntax that exists because of changes in the database or the data (or our institutional practices or....).

Also, you really shouldn't be recoding into the same variable over and over again, thereby losing the original data value.  That's why the handy RECODE...INTO exists.  It is no more work to recode into a new variable (sort_variable) and give the value you want to be last a new value like ZZZZZZZZZZZZ, which will really always be last unless our database gets very, very strange.

Too bad he wasn't a student in my lab section of research methods in psychology.  I could have cured him of this n00b mistake.

Remember: Friends don't let friends routinely recode into the same variable!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Finishing Up

Pink Peacock--Tuesday, 1/26/16

My outfit has very little in common with this casual summery inspiration photo.  But seeing the purple blouse reminded me of a purple pullover sweater I need to wear, and I have a skirt with a geometric shape pattern that looks a little bit like the polka dots on these shorts.


From there it was clear that I should add a lavender button up shirt, also new to the WtW Challenge.  I made the whole thing weather appropriate with a bunch of grey on my legs.

Purple pullover sweater (Kohls), $2.83/wear+
Lavender striped button up shirt (thrifted, Eddie Bauer), $1.33/wear+
Pink/purple/grey tweed skirt (thrifted, JCP), $1.67/wear+
Grey tights
Grey ankle boots by Seychelles, $10.77/wear
*Gold/pink peacock pendant (Target), $9.50/wear+

Outfit total: $26.10/wear

Isn't this a terrific little peacock pendant?  I love all the cascading feathers.  This was one of those "let's go pick up a couple things at Target and come home with some cool, random stuff that wasn't on the shopping list" purchases.

In other news...I had a headache tonight, so we did an early exercise session (because I didn't know how I'd feel later and watching TV is one of the most headache-compatible things I do) while watching Burn Notice...and things hit such an interesting point that we watched the last two episodes as well to wind up the program.  (I even did some strengthening exercises for my knee intermittently while we watched.)  Man, that show really finished strong.  I think the last season might have been the best one.

So I'm thinking due to popular acclaim (at least on this blog) that we will try Murder in Paradise as our next go-to watching-during-exercise TV show.

I already wish we were finishing up this work week, too.  I keep fighting against the cold(s) that are taking over my office, and though I think I've kept the upper hand so far, the fight is exhausting.

Monday, January 25, 2016


Falling in Winter--1/25/16

I fell hard for this fall outfit as soon as I saw it...and then didn't get around wearing it until winter because unseasonal style is my fashion hallmark.


But I think it's a look worth waiting for.

Maroon knit blazer (Lands End), $5.00/wear+
Dark microcheck skirt (thrifted, Banana Republic), $1.25/wear
White long-sleeved T (Walmart), $0.45/wear
Black/blue/orange floral/brushstroke infinity scarf (Kohls), $5.59/wear
Black leggings
Tall black boots by Fitzwell, $3.28/wear

Outfit total: $15.57/wear

The trickiest part of recreating this outfit was choosing the right scarf.  Though I loved her striped scarf, I didn't have anything like it.  However, I was surprised to see how well this floral/brushstroke scarf worked with the maroon blazer, white top, and black bottom half.  I would not have automatically thought orange + maroon = awesome, but it does.  Seeing the orange in the inspiration scarf made me give this combination a try.

A while back, my office mate mentioned that her (16 or 17 year old) daughter doesn't like infinity scarves (though she got one from her aunt for Christmas and was nice about it).  Because I also used to not be a fan of them [because they are less versatile than long scarves], I asked why she doesn't like them, and my office mate said that she seems to associate them with "an older generation."  I guess I can see the connection between scarves and older women in general, since scarves are a classic accessory for older women who want to look Parisian and chic and/or cover up necks that they don't like so much anymore.  But I actually think of infinity scarves as being an accessory of younger women (e.g., every female undergrad at my PhD university), as opposed to the long or square silk scarf donned by fashionable older ladies this one.


In other news...This blog post makes me want to read Nora Ephron's book of essays I Feel Bad About My Neck and Other Essays on Being a Woman.  This book didn't connect with me when it came out in the summer of 2006 and I was a mere youth of 32, but now...yeah, I get it.  I don't feel at all bad about about my neck, actually, but I'm old enough now, and have experienced enough physical change, to relate to the idea that an aging body is a thing.

One piece of happy news is that despite the subtitle of this post, I haven't yet (knock wood) slipped and fallen on slippery ice this winter.  Today we had RAIN OF ALL THE CRAZY THINGS (and a very small bit of snow later) and I was worried that the sidewalks/roads would be slick, but it turned out all right.

Sunday, January 24, 2016


The Debut of the Crazy New Jeans--Sunday, 1/24/16

Girl, you had me at the tipped blazer.  Adding a striped top and a patterned scarf makes this an irresistible outfit to recreate.


I put my items together with these jeans that I got thrifting with my mom at Christmas.  My mom went through the pants rack for both of us at the 88 cent sale and gave me two pairs to try one.  When I saw this pair, I thought they'd be too small but they fit perfectly!  (And no, they aren't even a super stretchy denim or anything--I just didn't judge the sizing right.)

One of the things about thrift shopping is that you can't say "I'm looking for jeans" and expect to take some home with you.  It's way more random than that.  But this time, I was lucky enough to get a pair of jeans at Goodwill for $6.99, and then a few days later to get these for 88 cents?  It's unreal.

Well, I hope these jeans are real and not a figment of my imagination.  I guess it's good that I'm debuting them on the weekend so it's not a case of Sally's New Clothes at work.

Burgundy tipped blazer (JNY), $13.63/wear
Black and white striped T with shoulder patches (Chaps/Kohls), $4.38/wear
Blue/orange/green floral scarf with black and white section (Target), $4.75/wear
*Straight leg jeans (thrifted, Bandolinoblu), $0.88/wear+
Leopard smoking slippers by Clarks, $2.38/wear

Outfit total: $26.02/wear

Wearing this scarf always cheers me up.  I'm not a huge fan of orange and yellow in general, but I like how bright and happy they are on this scarf (which I've arranged so that those sunny colors really stand out).

In other news...Tam sent this great link to an attempted con story.  Classic.

Robert and I are now totally depleted from spending a lot of time getting our password managers fed and figuring out what's going on with a gazillion different accounts.

I want to spend the rest of the night flopped out, but it's an exercise night.  Damn.  I guess I'll survive, though.

Saturday, January 23, 2016


In the Green--Saturday, 1/23/16

Focal item:  Dark green T with white flowers and brown branches

Looking for outfit ideas for this top, I came across this professional work ensemble in promising colors. 


I'm not entirely sure how I got from that to this, but maybe I got the "put a jacket over your shirt" idea from it?  I mean, I wouldn't normally put this suit jacket into a weekend rotation.  It's a mystery.

Denim skirt (thrifted, Levi's), $2.50/wear
Dark green T with flowers and branches (Kohls), $2.55/wear+
Brown/black open front blazer (thrifted, Perceptions New York), $2.50/wear+
White and brown wood bead necklace by RB+
Brown leggings
Tall brown boots by Fitzwell, $7.50/wear

Outfit total: $15.05/wear

"I never made one of my discoveries through the process of rational thinking." - Attributed to Albert Einstein but really, it was a fashion blogger's comment on outfit generation.

In other news...Robert and I installed password managers on our computers/phones today.  I have not fully populated mine yet but I've made a good start.  I will finish up tomorrow.

We also drove to a different branch of my bank this morning to deposit a check into my savings account.  We were able to drive up immediately to an open spot in one of the drive through lanes and completed our transaction in only a few minutes.  So much better than last time!

It's actually not that cold here today, but I'm feeling sick, and one of the symptoms is that I keep getting chilled.  (Note to self: iced tea doesn't help with that.) 

Friday, January 22, 2016

Unhelpful Language Learning Techniques

Plus Plaid--Friday, 1/22/16

Plaid over jeans and ankle boots is a simple casual formula that I thought would adapt nicely for a working Friday with my new plaid blazer (thrifted last summer).


I think this blazer is a bit on the short side for wearing with jeans/pants, but I thought it looked just fine with a column of black underneath.  It just makes my legs look longer than usual, which isn't a bad thing.

*Black/grey/red plaid blazer (thrifted, Fashion Bug), $9.99/wear+
Black long-sleeved T (Walmart), $0.83/wear
Black jeans (thrifted, NYDJ), $2.14/wear
Black ankle boots by Sam Edelman, $3.33/wear
Grey sweater scarf (Target), $6.00/wear

Outfit total: $22.29/wear

The mostly-neutral color scheme will make this a very versatile addition to my wardrobe.  I played it uncharacteristically muted today, with black and grey, to let the jacket stand out (as in the inspiration photo), but I expect to be using it in more colorful outfits to come.

In other news...My office mate's husband has never studied a foreign language, but because they have been talking about wanting to take a vacation in Italy, he picked up a language CD he thought might be helpful if he listened to it in the car (for example).  The CD claims to help you learn the language naturally like children learn.  What the CD does is list a long string of unrelated Italian words for the listener to repeat.  That's it.  This is possibly the worst language learning technique of all time.  I was like, Well, I guess if you want to learn to "speak Italian," you can learn like the first several words on this CD so that when you are in Italy, you can go into a restaurant or wherever and just say these words to someone.  You don't know what they mean, and they won't go together thematically or grammatically, but you will be speaking Italian [words].

Robert and I did this together in Spanish and came up with something like: "Gato trabajar bano vamanos piso dos dientes basura conejo adios verde."  And for Tam, I will add "miercoles," our favorite Spanish word to appear on a sandwich purchased at the airport/on an airplane.  I think every airport sandwich has "miercoles" on it, which must mean "airport sandwich" in Spanish.

Kids learn languages naturally by having crazy-amazing brain plasticity for language learning and by encountering phrases and sentences in a physical and social context.  I think that putting a kid by himself in a big box (like a car) and then having a loudspeaker recite a series of words in a language would not result in the kid learning the language.  Indeed, it sounds like the control group protocol of a developmental psychology experiment that is too unethical for anyone to let you do it.

What's the most unhelpful language learning technique you have heard of/encountered/tried?

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Bunnies + Blazer

Rabbit Redux All Over Again--Thursday, 1/21/16

I liked the idea of wearing a black blazer with a "sweet" dress (one with a cute pattern and a fuller skirt).  And do I ever have a sweet dress...


BUNNIES!  But bunnies partly obscured by a sweater vest and a knit blazer.  That makes it totally professional, right?  Eh, who cares, I'm wearing it anyway!  One of the advantages of my current job/employer is that we do not have to wear anything like a strictly "professional" wardrobe.  A rabbit shirt dress is completely acceptable.  One of my co-workers complimented me on this dress today.  No one can resist the adorable bunnies.

Black/beige rabbit dress (eShakti), $11.67/wear
Black ponte knit blazer (Target), $2.08/wear
*White sweater vest (thrifted, Casual Corner), $4.50/wear+
Black tights
Black heeled Oxfords (thrifted), $0.71/wear
Seed pearl necklace by RB+

Outfit total: $18.96

It may surprise you that I don't wear this dress more often (I mean, even adjusting for the strictures of the Work the Wardrobe Challenge), but it's as much artwork as it is clothing for me.  It hangs on the door outside my bathroom so I see it all the time.  It's like a piece of fabric wall art in my household that I sometimes wear.  It's one of the things that makes The Warren The Warren.

In other news...I have never read the Rabbit series by John Updike, including the second book in the series I referred to in my sub-title.  But the last two books in this series (Rabbit is Rich and Rabbit at Rest) won the Pulitzer Prize, making him "one of only three writers to have won two Pulitzer Prizes for Fiction, the other two being..."--do you know?  I didn't.

The first one makes sense (I have read two of his novels--neither of which were the winners, by the way--more than once and easily consider him one of America's essential writers) but the second one?  I feel like I've barely heard of him, though I do remember this book (which I have not read, nor seen the rather famous film adaptation of) from my days of studying American lit.  In the Wikipedia description of his second Pulitzer-winning novel, I love this line:  'The next day, Alice goes on an errand for her father into town, passing Frincke's Business College on the way with a shudder (as she sees it as a place that drags promising young ladies down to "hideous obscurity").'  I guess I'm a sucker for anything that depicts business school in a negative light!

Did you know that John Updike wrote The Witches of Eastwick (on which the 1987 movie was based)?  Huh.  I think I'm going to have to read that.  As for the Rabbit series...I don't know.  It seems a bit odd to me that I haven't read them (not because of the "rabbit" aspect but because I have read plenty of other white male American writers of the period.  The only book of his I have read is Gertrude and Claudius (based on Hamlet, as you might expect), which I did appreciate a lot...I probably appreciated it more than I enjoyed it, if that makes sense. 

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Kicking It

Horse Theme--Wednesday, 1/20/16

I liked the contrast between the red tights and the brown skirt in this outfit, though it is a pretty intense fashion statement.


I went a lot more subdued for my version, which uses dark maroon leggings in place of red tights and tall brown boots that further tone down the effect.  (And I discovered that in my not-well-lit bedroom, it is very hard in the afternoon to distinguish these maroon leggings from brown leggings.  Note to self: bring them into the light!)

*Brown corduroy skirt (thrifted, Walmart), $2.99/wear+
*White textured pullover sweater (thrifted, Liz Claiborne), $4.99/wear+
Maroon leggings
Tall brown boots by Fitzwell, $8.08/wear
Brown horse scarf (Target), $3.00/wear

Outfit total: $19.06/wear

I like this oversized dolman-sleeve sweater that I bought thrift shopping with my mom last month.  Both the texture and the shape are unusual.  It is not the most conventionally flattering silhouette in the world, but it's just flattering enough.

In other news...I am equal parts impressed and terrified that this woman goes 10-14 days between hair washings!  I wash my hair about twice a week these days (using dry shampoo in between) and that's working pretty well for me.  I washed my hair Monday morning and let it air dry--and it was so soft I wanted to pet it like it was a soft bunny.  OK, that's kind of fucked up.  But my point is that if my hair is like a horse's mane, on Monday, it was a show horse that just won the really, really big trophy.

And I just noticed that without realizing it, I've invoked horses twice in this post.  Each part was written at a different point in time, and I only now am looking back at the first part and seeing my horse scarf in the photo.

My approach to writing these posts is that I generally write the first part in advance, when I'm done with my outfit planning, etc., and then add something at the end on/near the day I post.  (I confess, I am writing this part on Tuesday night, right after I saw that crazy hair washing post and wanted to share it for the next day, which  All this time travel is confusing!)  I get a lot of the early stuff written on the weekend when I have a brain...or late on a weekend night when my brain has turned to mush and trickled out my ears and you get a bunch of posts about the Fire Swamp or whatever--it's a mixed bag, but I do a lot of the writing when I have more energy than I typically do when I get home from work.

So if it's a bit disjointed, well, that's why.

And if it all ties together with a bow like a ribbon in a pony's tail...

Stay back, I kick.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016


Plaid Bad Ass--Tuesday, 1/19/16

Another plaid skirt clothing manufacturer advertisement, though this woman's activity (standing) appears pretty plausible to me (though she does look to be in a breeze).  Granted, this is a kind of boring styling choice, but wearing all black does let the red and black patterned skirt stand out.


I followed their lead and wore my thrifted new-with-tags houndstooth tweed skirt (another unseasonable June purchase) with all black...

*Black and red houndstooth tweed skirt (thrifted, Casual Corner), $2.50/wear+
Black wool pullover sweater (thrifted, Calvin Klein), $2.50/wear+
Black moto vest (JCP), $4.25/wear
Black leggings
Tall black boots by Fitzwell, $3.39/wear
Red scarf (Target), $1.50/wear+

Outfit total: $14.14/wear

...and a red scarf because that much black is just too much for me.

I used my new "battery operated fabric defuzzer" ($14 at Amazon, 4.5 star average with over 1450 reviews) on this pilling wool sweater from Goodwill and it worked like a champ.  I can't say that the sweater is now fully as good as new, but it's at least 90% as good as new (and all the slight wear/pilling that remains is under the arms where the wool rubs), and that's enough for me, given that I paid $5 instead of $70+ for it.  Too bad for the previous owner that she didn't know the Secret of the Sweater Shaver.

This moto vest from my birthday JCP order is making its blog debut, though I wore it twice during my Christmas vacation and once as a last minute extra layer to work.  It's a great layering piece.  I love my (also JCP) black moto jacket, so getting a vest version for increased temperature flexibility seemed like a good idea.

And anything with the term "moto" automatically toughens up any outfit.  I mean, that LL Bean model looks just fine, but she doesn't exactly look ready for serious action, you know?  In my moto vest, though, when faced with Rodents of Unusual Size, I will be hopping onto my motorcycle climbing into my luxury automobile and getting the hell outta the Fire Swamp!


Staying Home Monday--Monday, 1/18/16

I was really attracted to this combination of patterned dress, button up shirt, denim jacket, and boots.


But when I tried wearing a white button up shirt underneath my sleeveless dress, it felt too stiff and awkward for me to be happy wearing it on the weekend.  So I swapped a thin layering T for the button up shirt and all was well.  This outfit would be more conventionally flattering with a more fitted denim jacket but I was all about the slouchy comfort.

Teal/black striped fit and flare dress (Target) $9.33/wear+
*Cream layering T (JNY), $3.42/wear+
Black denim jacket (JNY), $5.31/wear
Black leggings
Fuzzy black boots (Walmart), $5.00/wear
Black/silver pendant (JCP), $7.29/wear

Outfit total: $30.35/wear

In other news...I needed the slouchy comfort because I've been sick all week.  I did get my cooking done, around the time Robert, got home from work, but after that, I was wiped out.  I didn't even get back to my computer to post this last night!  I'm hoping this week will go better.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Avoiding Frozen Foot Syndrome

Black and Blue--Sunday, 1/17/16

You can count on Katie to go big with Colts blue--aka cobalt blue to the rest of us--and it's very cute with a flippy skirt and a button up shirt underneath the sweater.


I had been planning on a more faithful interpretation of this outfit, but then (1) winter finally arrived with a vengeance (today's temperature? Low of -17 F and high of -2 F!) and (2) I got a new 88 cent blouse I wanted to wear for the Work the Wardrobe Challenge.

Black cargo skirt with peplum hem (Royal Robbins/REI), $3.57/wear
*Teal/purple/black floral blouse (thrifted, JNY), $0.88/wear+
Cobalt blue pullover sweater (Macy's), $8.00/wear+
Chunky aqua double strand necklace (Kohls), $2.50/wear
Black leggings
Fuzzy black boots (Walmart), $6.67/wear+

Outfit total: $21.62/wear

It is hard for me to express how much I love this blouse.  It fits like a dream, layers beautifully (unlike most stiff cotton button up shirts), and has such a nice set of colors.  I cannot believe I got it at the 88 cent sale!  It's not even one of those situations where the item was tagged with the wrong size or somebody dried their clothes on too high a setting so it shrank down two sizes.  I guess it was just meant to be.  (I realize this is not actually a great photo of the blouse but consider it a sneak peek.)

I can't remember if I've ever shown these boots with the fuzzy (faux furry) tops on the blog before.  I had put them away at the end of last winter and only unearthed them very recently.  But expect to be seeing more of them as the cold weather grasps us in its frozen fist.

In other news...Tomorrow Robert has to go to work but I have the day off for MLK Day, so I'm staying home and cooking--a beef stew for Robert (is that perfect for the weather or what?) that takes a long time to cook on the stove and a beef/sweet potato hash for me.  The hash will be the second "recipe" I am making from the Whole30 book. 

I'm not doing the Whole30 but it has an eating style that is a subset of my own (they don't eat sugar, for example), and I recently re-discovered (having read the book some time ago but not really looking at the meal plans) that they have some great suggestions for meals that are variants of my own go-to lunches.  I typically cook up a bunch of ground beef with onion, top it after heating it up with either guacamole or cheese, and eat that with some kind of veg (lately roasted bell peppers or Dad's carrots).

They have a section of the book that gives little "recipes" for how to combine your meat of choice (cooked like I do my beef) with veg and spicing.  Last week at work I ate (a slight variant on) their cashew beef recipe--my usual ground beef/onion with some spices and soy sauce, topped with cashews, eaten with bell peppers.  (Their recipes call for mixing it all together but I prefer to keep the meat and veg separate despite my historical preference for the one-dish meal.)

I have not been able to get into any kind of serious cooking of complicated recipes while on this paleo-esque diet.  But new ideas for variants on my meat/onion topped with something tasty and eaten with some veg are very welcome.  I've been doing the beef/onion thing for a while, but I like the looks of some of their other meat options so perhaps I'll do something crazy and branch out to, I don't know, chicken some time!

As for not doing the reason I picked the book up again is that I've been thinking about doing it as the elimination stage of an elimination diet.  I haven't done an elimination diet since I was in college (ahem, over half my life ago) and I've been wondering whether my mental model of my food sensitivities is up to date or whether there have been changes I'm unaware of.  For example, I've been tolerating (reasonably limited amounts of) wheat lately better than I did in the past.  I'm definitely still in the contemplation stage where this is concerned, but it's at least on my radar.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Gull-less and Cold

Winter Titmice--Saturday, 1/16/16

I have a grey cashmere hoodie that I bought at Goodwill in 2013 but have a bit of difficulty styling for some reason.  It seems like it should be so easy and yet I have only worn it a couple of times.  (I know, my wardrobe is so full that I have a lot of things I've only worn a couple of times for no good reason other than I don't want to change clothes 3 times per day.)  So I am glad that the Work the Wardrobe Challenge is getting me off my duff and getting this hoodie cardigan back on my back.

I decided to adapt this casual Friday appropriate outfit for the weekend, including my titmouse blouse that I really adore and wanted to wear again.


For a bit of hyper-print-matching, I added my new silver feather pendant (another birthday purchase) to complement the grey titmice on the blouse.

Grey cashmere hoodie (thrifted, Macy's), $1.66/wear+
Peach titmouse blouse (Kohls), $5.33/wear
Bootcut jeans (thrifted, Kohls), $2.33/wear
*Silver feather pendant (JCP), $10.25/wear+
*Grey/rust/tan tribal print flats (Payless), $8.00/wear+

Outfit total: $27.57/wear

I had initially planned to do maroon flats as in the inspiration photo, which looked surprisingly nice with the peach blouse, but the arrival of these tribal print flats from my birthday Payless order changed things for me.  (Yep, more socks + ballet flats.  What's a Coldville resident to do?)

After wearing this cardigan all day and being constantly irritated by how short it is, I'm purging it from my wardrobe.  It's soft and lovely and would be great on someone with a torso about 4" shorter than mine.

In other news...The ivory gull we saw last Saturday hasn't been seen since last weekend.  Then some time during the week, all the other gulls at the canal wall also disappeared.  Robert says that local birders speculate that colder temperatures meant more ice pack out in the lake (which is a Great Lake, so birds easily can get lost to view from shore), which the gulls could use as their base of operations.  So it turns out that I was right to insist we get out there as soon as possible.  One more day and we would have missed it!

Here's another look at the ivory gull among his friends.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Kicking off a 3 Day Weekend

Brown Study--1/15/16

Another day, another Bridgette Raes outfit inspiration.  I have a denim skirt, olive pullover sweater, and cream scarf to wear for the Work the Wardrobe Challenge, so this outfit looked just the ticket.


I even considered wearing it with my brown quilted jacket but it was too bulky/restricting and the jacket/scarf combination made it impossible to see my nice olive sweater.  This denim skirt was another lucky Christmas Goodwill purchase with my mom.  I really like the faint fading on the denim--it adds some visual interest without making it too casual for casual Fridays at my office.  Now that I have this denim skirt, I have purged the one with the zipper that was starting to stick.

*Denim skirt (thrifted, Levi's), $4.99/wear+
Olive pullover sweater (Kohls), $4.25/wear+
Brown leggings
Tall brown boots by Fitzwell, $8.75/wear
Cream scarf (thrifted), $0.43/wear+

Outfit total: $18.42/wear

In other news....It has been a long day of a long week.  I am really ready to start feeling less sick this weekend!

I've been so grumpy the last few days, what I really need is this:

Some bunny loaf time.